We analyze the potential of measuring low-altitude optically thin clouds with a Raman-elastic lidar in the daytime. Optical depths of low clouds are derived by two separate methods from nitrogen Raman and elastic-scattering returns. By correcting for aerosol influences with the combined Raman–elastic returns, Mie retrievals of low-cloud optical depth can be dramatically improved and show good agreement with the direct Raman retrievals. Furthermore, a lidar ratio profile is mapped out and shown to be consistent with realistic water phase cloud models. The variability of lidar ratios allows us to explore the distribution of small droplets near the cloud perimeter.
© 2009 Optical Society of America
Atmospheric and Oceanic Optics
Original Manuscript: September 4, 2008
Revised Manuscript: December 5, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: January 27, 2009
Published: February 19, 2009
Yonghua Wu, Shuki Chaw, Barry Gross, Fred Moshary, and Sam Ahmed, "Low and optically thin cloud measurements using a Raman-Mie lidar," Appl. Opt. 48, 1218-1227 (2009)